This app wants you to go out on a first date without ever swiping or sending a message. Gasp.
Get out of my phone and into my life.
What if we told you that you have to meet the next person you matched with on a dating app — no swiping, no chatting, no ghosting involved?
That’s the idea behind a new high-stakes dating app called First. You post a date idea and a time, and people can submit to join you. You pick a winner, and then — get this — you just show up for the date. Are you having heart palpitations yet?
Depending on your personality, this kind of blind meetup might either sound fun or like your worst nightmare. But that’s kind of the point. The app is the brainchild of Truman Kain, a 25-year old from Los Angeles, who told us his goal is "getting you off of your phone and onto the date."
So how does it actually work? It’s pretty simple. You set up a quick profile (using your Facebook login), and then you can create whatever date experience you feel like. Maybe it’s dinner at the newest hotspot, a sporting event you’ve got an extra ticket to, or something way more low-key like a quick drink. You name the time and place, and then it’s put into the feed of open dates.
People in your area (that are your preferred gender and age) can then submit to be your date. You pick the winning bidder, and then the date is set. You’re not offered the option to chat ahead of time, and you’re not even given each other’s contact info.
This is intended to ensure that people aren’t dabbling, just to see if they get picked, and it’s also meant to force people off of the app and into a real meeting. Though logistics-wise, this could turn out to be tricky.
Image: first app
A date officially closes four hours before its start time, so in theory you have plenty of advance notice. But what if something comes up and you have to bail? In real emergencies, you can contact customer service, but you still get marked as a no-show. The app has an official “No Flakes” policy, so two no-shows and you get banned.
You also get rated post-date, though your rating isn’t public facing. So Kain said it’s mostly just for weeding out those who aren’t right for the app. After you’ve gone on a few successful dates, you get “verified” with a glowing check mark, which can boost your chances of getting picked.
If you’re the cynical sort of person who has spent any time using a dating app, you may now be wondering what is going to keep this from turning into a platform for people in search of a free dinner. Well, it could be, but you do have the option of specifying up front that the cost of date will be split evenly, be your treat, or (if you’re really feeling brave) be the winner’s treat.
Image: first app
It’s also a bit odd to think, after so many years of algorithms ruling all, you’ll be matched with someone on no other criteria than their basic demographic info and their willingness to participate in whatever kind of date you have planned. Though, if you think about it, the kind of evening someone puts together could be pretty revealing.
Still, so many things about this approach go against the prevailing wisdom of dating apps, which is that you should be able to save time and fuss by learning as much as possible from a person based on their profile and their chats. Kain argues, however, that the whole swipe/chat/repeat process is a huge time suck.
He thinks these apps have turned into more of a social or entertainment platform, and he wants to focus exclusively on getting people out on the dates. First’s promise is that rather than investing all the time and energy up front, only to realize the second you meet someone that there’s nothing there, you instead get the meeting out of the way first. Then either move forward or move on.
It’s a risky move, but there is a big potential payoff for everyone who’s got swipe fatigue. This is, of course, the most old-fashioned way of doing things. Generations before ours had no choice but to take this route.
It remains to be seen if putting it in app form will make us accept it as new enough to be the next big thing.